Help, how can I get my kids to stop swearing?

Dear Agony Aunt,

I am having some pretty big issues with my kids. I have two teenagers - one boy and one girl.

They are essentially good kids, but I despair of their current behaviour and am at odds of how to proceed.

Although they generally listen to my thoughts and act accordingly, I seem to have hit a road block when it comes to their language.

I realise that swearing has unfortunately become the norm. However, I do not think that because society is closing its eyes and ears to the degradation of the way we speak, I should condone and accept it. My kids tell me I am old fashioned and need to get with the times.

Regardless of their comments, I find foul language disrespectful and demeaning to those that use it.

What do you think? How can I instill a sense of self respect in them?


This is one of those really hard calls. I know that there is a current trend for males and females to use expletives in everyday communication.

I for one, consider it only appropriate in the heat of the moment - for example, stubbing your toe on the bedside table in the middle of the night and other such heated occasions.

There are clearly other times when swearing seems appropriate, but to use such language as a general method of communication is downright tacky, lacking in all manners of respect and usually shows a total lack of class.

Sadly, young people are using it more and more in general conversation and it makes me cringe.

What can you do? Not a lot I fear. Make your feelings felt and advise them you will take part in conversations where they feel the need to continually swear. Tell them you find it disrespectful to your wishes.

Once stated, withdraw from further comment and withdraw when they converse with you or around you using bad or offensive language. Maybe in time they will view this trend in the same light as we do.

Thanks for your letter, it was good to see a different issue on the table for discussion.


As sexist as this may sound, it's OK for guys to swear but we don't like girls doing it!

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